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April 24, 2014

Meth, marijuana found in Merced home, man jailed, deputies say

A 40-year-old Merced man remained behind bars Thursday in Madera County, accused of possessing 8 pounds of methamphetamine and marijuana cultivation.

A 40-year-old Merced man remained behind bars Thursday in Madera County, accused of possessing 8 pounds of methamphetamine and marijuana cultivation.

Javier Hernandez Ramirez was arrested late Wednesday and booked at the Madera County jail on suspicion of methamphetamine possession for sale, marijuana cultivation, utilities theft and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Bail was set at more than $1.5 million.

Erica Stuart, Madera County sheriff’s spokeswoman, said Ramirez’s arrest was the product of a monthlong investigation by the county’s Narcotic Enforcement Team that started in Chowchilla. Details of the Chowchilla case were not disclosed.

Drug agents served a search warrant Wednesday night at Ramirez’s Merced home. In addition to 8 pounds of suspected methamphetamine, investigators found 311 marijuana plants and a loaded firearm, the Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

Authorities said the house had been converted into a commercial marijuana-growing operation.

Stuart said the home was located across the street from a public park where children frequently play. Deputies declined to reveal the home’s exact location, saying that would harm the investigation.

Stuart said investigators will seek enhancements of operating a suspected stash house and cultivation operation less than a 1,000 yards from playground.

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